Rosie and I recently came back from one of the most delicious holidays ever in Austria in with a bit of an obsession with all things Austrian- the Sound of Music, strudel, sachertorte, Viennese coffee, Milka. We even had several Austrian days and made three different types of strudel. They are surprisingly simple to make and are delicious hot or cold- you could have it for dinner one night then take cold slices to the library as a packed lunch.
Spinach and Potato Strudel
Depending on your tastes and availability/cost of ingredients, you can do this recipe with cream cheese or a cheese sauce.
300-350g potatoes (waxy salad potatoes if possible)
2 tbs oil (olive or vegetable)
2 small or 1 large onion(s)
4 cloves of garlic
1 packet approx. 320g puff pastry
1 egg (optional)
For cream cheese filling:
1 200g packet cream cheese
1 tbs lemon juice (one of those bottles of lemon juice from the baking aisle work well)
salt and pepper
For cheese sauce filling:
3 tbs flour
180 ml milk
75g cheese (cheddar works well)
salt and pepper
(1) Wash the potatoes, and boil them in a pan of salted water. Cook for around 12-15 minutes, depending on size, until they are cooked but not falling apart.
(2) Whilst the potatoes are cooking, wash the spinach thoroughly (my spinach is from my dad’s allotment so I have to be super careful at this stage to pick out all the tiny snails that have crawled into the leaves). Roughly shred the spinach.
(3) Heat the oil over a low-medium heat in a large frying pan (a medium/large saucepan will work fine if you don’t have a large frying pan.) Add the onion and garlic, ensuring the heat is nice and low so that the garlic doesn’t brown.
(4) Once the onion is cooked, raise the temperature slightly and add the spinach. Don’t worry if the spinach doesn’t all fit in the pan- it reduces volume massively so you could add it handful by handful. It will only take a few minutes to cook- make sure you don’t overcook it and leave a bit of texture in there! Squeeze excess liquid from the cooked spinach out into the sink.
(5) Peel the potatoes and roughly dice into 1cm cubes. Add to the spinach.
(6) Preheat your oven to 200°C.
(7) If you’re using cream cheese, add cream cheese and lemon juice to the spinach and potatoes (be careful not to add too much juice, you don’t want too much liquid in your strudel.) Season well.
a. If you’re making a cheese sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat.
b. Add the flour and mix into a thick paste. Cook for about a minute.
c. Add the milk little by little, stirring until smooth after each addition.
d. Once all the milk is added, simmer for about 3-5 minutes until the sauce is nice and thick, constantly stirring. If using, add a little nutmeg.
e. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Mix into the spinach and potatoes. Season well.
(8) If your puff pastry isn’t pre-rolled, roll it into an oblong (if you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a wine bottle). Add the spinach, potato and cheese filling along one of the long sides (don’t add all the filling if there’s too much!), and fold the pastry over the filling, sealing every side by pressing the pastry down.
(9) Put parallel slits along the top, and if you want your strudel to look a bit like a pasty from Gregg’s (i.e., glazed), brush a beaten egg on top (you can use the rest for scrambled eggs). This is by no means essential however!
(11) Take it out the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.